Copper-related light-induced degradation in crystalline silicon

Jeanette Lindroos

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


    Unintentional copper and nickel impurities are common in silicon-based devices due to the abundance of contamination sources in industrial silicon crystallization and wafer processing lines. High solubility and diffusivity result readily in significant impurity concentrations, which cause charge-carrier recombination and reduce the device response. This work confirms that nickel diffuses as fast as copper in silicon, emphasizing the importance of contamination control in silicon-based devices. Copper contamination is known to form recombination-active defects in silicon during illumination, which is observed as copper-related light-induced degradation (Cu-LID). In order to identify the extent of degradation in silicon-based devices, this work focuses on determining the properties of Cu-LID in gallium-doped Czochralski (Cz) silicon, boron-doped Cz-Si, and boron-doped multicrystalline silicon. Cu-LID is determined to be predominantly a bulk recombination effect, and the formed defects are found to be stable at 200°C. Slower Cu-LID is observed in Ga-Si compared to B-Si, suggesting that Cu-LID formation is limited by the effective copper diffusivity. Cu-LID is shown to completely disappear after negative sample surface charging and illumination. The negative surface charge is achieved by corona charging or aluminum oxide deposition. Cu-LID removal is observed to have no impact on classical boron-oxygen-related light-induced degradation (BO-LID), which has previously been shown to recover at 200°C. Unlike BO-LID, the activation energy of Cu-LID is found to depend on the silicon doping concentration. Hence, Cu-LID and BO-LID are concluded to be two different degradation effects, which can occur simultaneously in silicon-based devices.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor's degree
    Awarding Institution
    • Aalto University
    • Savin, Hele, Supervising Professor
    Print ISBNs978-952-60-6129-0
    Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-6130-6
    Publication statusPublished - 2015
    MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


    • copper
    • degradation
    • lifetime
    • nickel
    • silicon


    Dive into the research topics of 'Copper-related light-induced degradation in crystalline silicon'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this